Daily Archives: November 25, 2011

Dear Wicca, Thank You.

Dear Wicca, Thank You.

Author: Selena Rose

I began to research Wicca when I was eleven or twelve years old. I – obviously – was not extremely serious about it at that point, and the interest came and went for a year or two. I always loved the idea of the religion, but I didn’t seriously start studying until I was about thirteen. And I studied for almost a solid two years before I started to practice. I know that it was still very young and, looking back, maybe it was too young. But I don’t regret starting early because it just gave me more time to develop into the kind of spiritual person that I wanted to become.

When I was sixteen I developed Anorexia Nervosa. During the year and a half battle, I dropped over twenty pounds, yo-yoed between weights, dealt with depression, anxiety, and a number of other “issues”. Twenty pounds is not nearly as serious as it could have become, I know. I got lucky that it didn’t get worse. Physically, I was not that ill. The illness was completely and entirely mental. I was dealing with self-hatred, feeling worthless, like I was created wrong.

Over the December holidays, I was shopping for gifts with my family. We celebrate a very secular Christmas and I celebrate Yule in my own ways on my own. I was seventeen at this point, a senior in high school. I decided to buy myself a Yule gift while I was at Borders and headed back to the religion section of the store.

There were a few titles I was familiar with but never purchased, a few I owned. I ran my hands over the spines, trying to get some kind of idea of what to purchase. My body and mind stopped on a thin, black binding. I bought the book and took it home. Literally, that night, my life changed.

The book was The Circle Within by Dianne Sylvan. If you’ve ever read it, you should realize how beautiful it was to me. It opened my eyes to parts of Wicca and Witchcraft that I never knew existed and somehow, I wanted them in my life. I can’t point out a specific passage that changed everything. It was everything at once. I finished the book in less than twenty-four hours. And I started my own journey toward recovery of my eating disorder.

Yes, one book did all that. I brought that book to school. I underlined and starred passages that I needed to remember. I kept it in my mind all the time as I tried to work my way up to a semi-normal number of calories a day. And it worked. I ended up purchasing Sylvan’s other book, The Body Sacred. That was probably one of the greatest purchases of my life, as well. I kind of owe everything to her. After that, I began to read more about the spirituality of Wicca, and created my own bond with the God and Goddess that was one of the most beautiful feelings I have ever felt in my life. I felt genuine and I felt new.

For several months, I was deep into my spirituality and practice. For that summer I worked at a very Zen coffee house where incense was always burning and Bob Marley was constantly on the sound system. Everything was organic and healthy and I felt extremely at peace for a whole summer as I prepared to go away to college. I had a wonderful therapist helping me with my “launching phase” who helped me heal my relationship with my mother (that was always a troubling spot for me) . I was in the good place in my life. And I went away to college and my life did a tailspin again.

In college, I gained a good eight or ten pounds. I didn’t really mind too much at first. I was okay. I just started to go to the gym a little more often and I paid more attention to what I was eating. It’s difficult in the dining hall because you don’t exactly know what you’re getting on your plate. Around October, I noticed one of my roommates acting strange. I noticed classic symptoms of Anorexia in her. I saw myself. She was dropping weight like crazy, sleeping way too often, spending hours at the gym and becoming very secluded. It took me two times of addressing the situation to her to get her to fess up.

Meanwhile, I retreated back into my old bad habits, turning to Anorexia as a crutch when I was stressed out about school, friends, or relationships. In just about a month I dropped over ten pounds. I lost all the weight I gained when I arrived, and then some. I was becoming happier with my body, but worse about my soul. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, but I couldn’t stop it. I was afraid to lose it. I had just started talking to a guy that I seriously liked and he liked me and I wanted to be lovely.

During this year I also stopped practicing Wicca. I still considered it my religion, but I was not as active as I could have been. I would pray once in a while to try and figure out my life, but it was difficult to keep focused on it. A few days ago, things changed again.

I opened up to one of my friends about my eating disorder. She then told me that she had similar problems, only on the Bulimia side. She had been in and out of treatment and offered to help me any way she could. I told her that I didn’t want help right now. And I lost two more pounds the next day. Losing weight made me feel secure, but it also scared me. I felt a bit out of control when the number kept dropping lower, lower. I was starting to get very worried and unhappy. I would go on drinking binges because I knew that it would make me weight less in the morning. (FYI – NOT a reason to have a drink, especially if you’re underage. I do NOT condone drinking to excess.) I had become reckless. I was scared. I had a breakdown in the shower after going to the gym one day and asked myself – when will I be happy? When will I become complete again? I thought it was about the number, but there was another voice in my head telling me that there was something more out there for me. I had to learn that I was more than my eating disorder.

Somewhere along the way, I tried to eat a little more. Mostly it was to appease everyone else who was worried: my friends, my sister, and somewhere deep in me, myself. Then my second roommate found a great website with a ton of yoga and some meditation. I had completely stopped doing yoga and meditating and I needed that. So I decided to try again and be serious about it. I also pulled out my good ‘ol Dianne Sylvan book again. I wanted to get back to the girl I used to be. I was happiest when I was greeting Divinity each morning and saying goodnight before bed. I was happiest when I could sit outside for hours just staring at the trees and feeling the Earth breathe beneath me. I was happiest when I could fully be myself, in my own skin. Every time a Sabbat comes around, I remember how this religion is Me. Because I always miss celebrating one to the fullest extent that I can because of the completeness that celebration always brings to me.

The beauty of Wicca is seeing the beauty in everything and feeling the magic pulse within yourself and all around you. If I’m not living, I can’t feel that. If I’m not being alive to the greatest extent that I can, there is no point. We are all a part of the Divine. The Divine is not ugly, or fat, or useless. And through learning this, I have to learn to respect myself.

If you’re struggling in any of the same ways that I did – I am feeling your pain. It is a meal-to-meal struggle. And that’s sad because food is one of the most magical pieces of art in the entire world. But it is possible to survive, and spirituality can help. It is not the only tool; you have to want to get better. I was not sure that I wanted to get better, and then I realized that not only did I want to – I needed to. In order to feel the beauty of the world around us, we have to be alive. I’m used to being completely dead inside because of this disease and for the last few days I’ve felt alive. Not completely – but much more than I have in a while.

Recovery is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. And now I’m doing it for the second time. It is damn scary and I’m afraid for every day. Yet I continue to try. Some days are worse than others, but I still keep on, and I hope to continue to keep on until I have a healthy relationship with food again.

Do something scary and live. Because I firmly believe that it is worth it. Especially as Pagans, we have the ability to see the world in a way that not everyone can. We have different ways of appreciating the unbelievable qualities all around us. So appreciate it, and live. It’s what I’m trying to do.

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Thanking the Gods – A Solitary Ritual of Thanks

Witchy Comments & Graphics

A Solitary Ritual Of Thanks

 

You will need: a large white or pink bowl, one white candle, spring water, fresh flowers (that are white if possible), and a piece of white cloth.

This can be performed outside or in, whichever you prefer. Place the bowl on the ritual surface (your altar or the ground). If desired, cast a circle. Affix the white candle to the center of the bowl with warmed beeswax or with wax from another white candle.

Pour water into the bowl. Place the flowers in the water (either take the petals off or pop the heads of the stems and set the stems aside). Light the candle.

Visualize your reason for the ritual, remember why you are giving thanks. Touch the water on both sides of the candle with your fingertips, saying:

Lady of the Moon, of stars and the Earth,
Lord of the Sun, of forest and the hills,
I perform a ritual of thanks
My love shine like the flame
My love floats like the petals
Upon you.
Lady of Waters, of floers and seas,
Lord of Air, of horns and of fire,
I perform a ritual of thanks.
My love shines like the flames
My love floats like the petals
upon you.
Lady of Caves, of cats and snakes,
Lord of Plains, of falcons and stags,
I perform a ritual of thanks.
My love shines like the flames.
My love floats like the petals
Upon you.

Look into the candle flame, then down into the water. Blow gently upon the water’s surface and watch the flowers move. Meditate, commune and give thanks to the Lord and the Lady.

When it is time to close, remove the flowers from the water. Place them in the center of the white cloth. Wrap them up in the cloth. If you have cast a circle. close it now. End your rite by quenching the flame, pouring the water onto the ground and burying the flowers into the Earth. It is done. 
~Magickal Graphics~

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Daily Motivator for November 25th – Run with it

Run with it

Let your life come fully and positively to life. You are here on this glorious day, so make the very most of it.

You have passions and interests, so pursue them. You have dreams and desires, so get busy and fulfill them.

You have unique perspectives and opinions, so express them. A magnificent, fascinating universe surrounds you, so experience it.

There are people about whom you care deeply. So give them your time, your attention, your love and fellowship.

You’ve already experienced yesterday, so don’t live it again today. This is a day to bring new and interesting and meaningful substance into your life.

On this very day you have the priceless opportunity to live. Take that opportunity, right now, and run with it as far and as high as you possibly can.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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Daily OM for November 25th – Connecting with the Divine

Connecting with the Divine
Puja

Performing a Hindu puja ritual is a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.

Forging a spiritual connection with the divine is the ultimate goal of many forms of worship. In our devotions, we transcend the limitations of our humanity using prayers, rituals, and invocations, or we seek the celestial in sacred items such as statuary, imagery, or natural objects. In the Hindu tradition, worshipers bond with the divine through the puja ritual. The purpose of the ritual is to create an atmosphere in which humans and spiritual beings can enjoy communion with one another. Though participants show reverence for their chosen deities, puja serves to bring the former and the latter together on an energetic level. Performing a puja ritual is thus a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.

There are no limits as to whom may serve as the focal point of your puja. You need only choose a spirit guide to commune with and an object to represent them. Preparing for the puja ritual, however, can take some time, depending on the number of devotional acts you will perform. A classic puja includes 16 acts, including meditation, chanting, the reading of sacred texts, offerings of food and drink, and cleansing. You may also wish to present gifts of incense, flowers, and jewelry during the ritual. An altar or table covered by an altar cloth provides space for the representation of the divine and the seat of the puja. To begin, prepare your offerings and place them to the right of the altar. Then center yourself and release any stress you may feel—the puja is meant to be a joyful experience. Typically, the ritual begins with the ringing of a bell and an invitation, and progresses from chanting to the cleansing and dressing of the deity to the offerings to meditation. You can modify your puja in any way you wish.

Though the elaborate puja rituals performed in Hindu temples take place at sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight, puja performed in the home primarily takes place in the mornings and evenings. When your intention is to invite your spiritual guides into your home and heart, however, the time of day matters little. With practice, you will create a direct path to spiritual oneness that allows you to experience an amazing sense of closeness that reinforces your connection with the divine.

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Life Lessons – How To Live Your Life Without Regrets

Nature Comments & Graphics 

How to Live Your Life Without Regrets

By Phylameana lila Desy

Everyone has made poor choices or done something in their past that could possibly be labeled as “regrettable.” But, think about it. The fact that you are now able to look back and realize that a mistake or mis-step occurred means you have learned a valuable lesson. Some of my choices may have landed me in unpleasant circumstances, but experiencing these things certainly built my current character. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for those character-building situations. Mistakes are stepping stones to an evolving life. No need for you to sink into regret or despair — keep your chin up.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: now and forever

Here’s How:

  1. Acknowledge a mistake has been made – It is easy to play the blame game, pointing fingers at someone else or circumstances as to why you have stumbled or why your life is difficult. Taking personal ownership that your past actions resulted in bringing about your current reality is the first step to moving past regrets and moving toward a brighter future.
  2. Make amends – If your past actions or words have harmed another person an apology may be in order. Or not, apologies can be tricky. Judge for yourself if an apology will help matters or only drudge up old wounds better left alone. But, definitely forgive yourself! Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. Continually berating yourself for past actions is self-defeating. Would you kick a dog while it was laying down? Of course not. Please don’t do this to yourself. Righting a wrong is not always feasible. If you feel badly about a past action you’ve taken that cannot be righted, forgive yourself, and let it go.
  3. Do-overs – Sometimes feelings of regret arise not from our past actions, but from our non-actions. Have you ever regretted not taking a vacation, staying stuck in a dead-end job, not attending college… or whatever? It may be too late to reverse those decisions, but you still have options. Some colleges offer free classes for seniors. You might not have the time, money, or physical endurance to travel, but you can rent movies or attend travelog showings about the regions you wish to learn more about. New opportunities are available around every corner if you just open your heart and follow your dreams.
  4. Be grateful – The most valuable lessons learned in life often come from the mistakes we make. It may take a walk down a dark alley to see clearly. Embrace your follies, feel gratitude for getting past the worst episodes and eventually finding your way along a less-cluttered path.
  5. Be careful not to repeat the same mistake – A skinned-knee teaches a small child not to run so fast. Slow-down. If you are repeatedly faced with similar difficulties over and over again, this is a sure bet that you have not learned the lessons these situations are trying to teach. Opportunity will surface only after you take responsibility for faulty actions taken and change your current and future behaviors accordingly.
  6. Be watchful of future knee-jerk reactions – This is probably the toughest step, not reacting negatively to situations or the people who tend to push your buttons. We don’t always have control over the things life tosses in front of us, but we do control our reactions. Stay calm. Introduce stress-management into your daily life. Meditation helps clear and focus the mind. Therapeutic play will help balance work-related stresses.
  7. Looking deeper inside – Re-evaluate the direction your life is taking. Have you accepted that your past mistakes are just that — in the past? Focus on today. Become aware of your future goals and desires. Setting clear intentions will help clear the path so that your life progresses with a freer heart and increased happiness. The best is yet to come! Believe it. 

Tips:

  1. Remember, nobody is perfect. Including yourself!
  2. Forgiveness is golden.
  3. Live for today. Yesterday was then.

 
~Magickal Graphics~

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Daily Affirmation for Friday, November 25th

Nature Comments & Graphics 

I am a magnet for love, peace and understanding.

from mi


~Magickal Graphics~

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NASA Image of the Day for November 25th

 A New Map of the Moon

 

A New Map of the Moon

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter science team released the highest resolution near-global topographic map of the moon ever created. This new topographic map shows the surface shape and features over nearly the entire moon with a pixel scale close to 328 feet.

Although the moon is Earth’s closest neighbor, knowledge of its morphology is still limited. Due to the limitations of previous missions, a global map of the moon’s topography at high resolution has not existed until now. With LRO’s Wide Angle Camera and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument, scientists can now accurately portray the shape of the entire moon at high resolution.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day for November 25th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2011 November 25
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

A Glimpse of CLIMSO
Image Credit & Copyright: Alain Sallez (picdumidi.org)  

 

Explanation: A tantalizing glimpse inside this dome was captured after sunset at the mountain top Pic Du Midi Observatory in the French Pyrenees. But while most are just beginning their work at sunset, this observatory’s day was done. The instrument looming within is CLIMSO (for Christian Latouche IMageur Solaire), dedicated to exploring dynamic phenomena across the surface and atmosphere of the Sun. To image the solar atmosphere or corona, CLIMSO uses coronagraphs. Developed by French astronomer Bernard Lyot in the 1930s, coronagraphs block light from the center of the telescope beam to create an artificial solar eclipse and allow a continuous view of the solar corona. In this surreal twilight scene above a sea of clouds, the dome’s interior was revealed by the single, long exposure as the open slit rotated across the field of view.

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